PICTURE by Flint Town United shows Nathan Craig.
IT MAY BE a stranger summer than ever before for us football-lovers, but that hasn’t stopped the transfers from flowing for several North Wales-based clubs.
Here are just some of those that have been made so far (Part two of this series to follow soon).
BALA TOWN (CYMRU PREMIER)
Colin Caton’s side have been one of the busiest clubs of the summer to date as they prepare for a return to the Europa League qualifying stages after a season out.
The likes of Nathan Burke, Josh Tibbetts and Mike Hayes have departed but they have managed to hang on to Cymru Premier top scorer and club captain Chris Venables, as well as talented midfielder Henry Jones and have also agreed a new contract with Danny Gosset, who will soon make a long-awaited return to the pitch after overcoming Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Signing on at Maes Tegid for 2020/21 are:
Will Evans (Cardiff Met Uni)
Nathan Peate (Cefn Druids)
Alex Ramsay (Caernarfon Town)
BANGOR 1876 (DIVISION TBC)
Sam Roberts (Llanrwst United)
BANGOR CITY (FAW CHAMPIONSHIP NORTH & MID)
New City manager Hugo Colace has stressed a desire to bring more local players back to Nantporth following the divide which has become apparent between the club and the city itself in recent times.
With that in mind, he’s made two cracking local signings already:
Prolific Bangor-born forward Marc Evans, AKA ‘Loggs’ (Pictured above), has returned home after proving himself abroad with a strong spell at Melville United in New Zealand. He will no doubt add some firepower to Colace’s side as he’s a cracking finisher.
Evans follows Robbie Parry as another exciting prospect who returns to Nantporth. The former Llandudno and TNS winger should bring plenty of talent and experience as well as goals to the club having scored 16 times in 30 games during his first spell with the Citizens.
BLAENAU AMATEURS (TIER THREE)
Bryn Humphreys (Penrhyndeudraeth)
CAERNARFON TOWN (CYMRU PREMIER)
With key players such as the likes of Alex Ramsay, Leo Smith, Nathan Craig and Jamie Breese all leaving The Oval already, manager Huw Griffiths has been busy trying to replace them with a host of other talented players.
For example – Mike Hayes, who arrives from Bala, is a proven goalscorer in the Cymru Premier and should be a great addition to the squad.
And with the likes of talisman Darren Thomas and wing wizard Danny Brookwell re-committing for 2020/21, its not all doom and gloom for Caernarfon as some have suggested.
Full list of signings:
Jack Fleming (Burscough)
Mike Hayes (Bala Town)
Cai Jones (Porthmadog)
Josh Tibbetts (Bala Town)
Iddon Price (Porthmadog)
Cory Williams (Llandudno)
COLWYN BAY (FAW CHAMPIONSHIP NORTH & MID)
Sam Hart (Airbus UK Broughton)
Lewis Sirrell (Llandudno)
CONNAH’S QUAY NOMADS (CYMRU PREMIER)
The 2019/20 Cymru Premier champions have made one of the signings of the summer by securing the services of Aeron Edwards from league rivals TNS.
The 32-year-old won an incredible nine Cymru Premier (previously Welsh Premier League) titles whilst with The New Saints and is widely-regarded as one of the best midfielders in Wales’ top flight.
He’ll no doubt be a worthwhile addition to Andy Morrison’s side who will be looking to challenge for the title again next season and prove they’re no ‘one season wonders’ when it comes to being league champions.
CONWY BOROUGH (FAW CHAMPIONSHIP NORTH & MID)
New Tangerines boss Matt Jones has been busy in the transfer window. He’s added James Bell (Nantlle Vale), Tommy Creamer (Rhyl), Gerwyn Jones (Rhyl), Rory Crowther (Rhyl) and Meilir Williams (Blaenau Amateurs) to the club’s ranks.
Creamer was part of Conwy Borough’s formidable treble-winning side of 2017/18 but later left for Rhyl, who are now defunct. The attacking midfielder was a real key player for The Lillywhites last season and his return to Y Morfa should prove to boost an already-impressive Borough side even further.
Meilir Williams joins the club having been a prolific goalscorer for Blaenau Amateurs – even scoring 15 of the club’s 33 goals in Welsh Alliance One last season. He scored 24 in all competitions and will relish the chance of getting to play in the second division next season I’m sure.
FLINT TOWN UNITED (FAW CHAMPIONSHIP NORTH & MID)
Heads have turned at some of the formidable signings Flint have pulled off already this summer, as they prepare to return to Wales’ top flight for the first time since 1998.
Niall McGuinness’s side have been boosted by the signings of Wes Baynes (Aberystwyth Town), Ben Burrows (Rhyl), Nathan Craig (Caernarfon Town), Conor Harwood (Connah’s Quay Nomads), Rob Hughes (Prestatyn Town) and Ben Nash (Rhyl).
The one that really grabbed the headlines though was the capture of Caernarfon Town captain Nathan Craig – who has been one of the Cymru Premier’s standout stars over the last few seasons – as the move came as a surprise to almost everyone. Although he’s Caernarfon through and through, the former Everton man, who can play as LB or as a winger, has moved to Flint in search of a ‘new challenge’.
His work-rate is often unrivalled on the pitch and the eye for goal he has, particularly from set pieces, will no doubt come in handy.
The question now is; with all these new faces joining and being led by an exciting young manager in the form of McGuinness, can Flint be the Cymru Premier surprise package in 2020/21?
GLANTRAETH (TIER THREE)
Are good times on their way back to Glan? The signings they’ve made certainly seem to suggest so. Although, confirmation that they will be playing in tier three in 2020/21 means it will be no easy ride. Sean Brett, who won the Gwynedd League and cup double with Menai Tigers in 2018/19, took over at the club (also in the GL) midway through last season and you could see results start to improve almost immediately.
With a host of Bangor University players and the likes of prolific scorer James Ryan being on the books, it would have been interesting to see where they had ended up had the season not ended so abruptly.
Nevertheless, Glantraeth can now look forward to their 2020/21 campaign and it’s fair to say that they’re already assembling a great side. Valley’s no-nonesense CB Dion Evans has joined the club, as have experienced goalkeeper David Clarke and brother Andy, a prolific goalscorer for several clubs over the years, with the former arriving from Gaerwen and latter from Bethesda.
Six others have also moved to the club from Gaerwen, namely; Tim Cavanagh, Gethin Davies, Callum Hughes, Darren Lewthwaite, Shaun Monument and Iwan Williams.
GRESFORD ATHLETIC (FAW CHAMPIONSHIP NORTH & MID)
Sam Molyneux (Rhyl)
Corey Smart (Flint Town)
Barry Torrence (Queen’s Park)
HOLYHEAD HOTSPUR (FAW CHAMPIONSHIP NORTH & MID)
The big news so far at the New Stadium is that hometown hero and Island Games gold medallist Mel McGinness (Above) has returned after spells away at Porthmadog and Llangefni Town respectively. The forward is something of a legend at Hotspur, having previously hit well over a century of goals across different levels for the club. He departed for Porthmadog last summer, having led Ynys Mon to gold on home soil at the Island Games football tournament and then went on to play for Llangefni.
His returned was warmly welcomed by supporters of the club who can’t way to see him back in the blue of Hotspur.
Also signing on for 2020/21 is Leon Doran – a talented 22-year-old midfielder who can play both in the centre and out wide. He’ll be another welcome addition to Darren Garmey’s side having arrived from Llanrwst United last week.
HOLYWELL TOWN (TIER THREE)
Ilan ap Gareth (Rhyl)
LLANDUDNO (FAW CHAMPIONSHIP NORTH & MID)
Josh Allen (Connah’s Quay Nomads, loan)
Gareth Evans (Caernarfon Town)
Max Moore (Connah’s Quay Nomads)
Morgan Owen (Colwyn Bay)
Mike Pearson (Caernarfon Town)
LLANERCHYMEDD (DIVISION TBC)
Llan ended up bottom of the Gwynedd League with 0 points come the end of 2019/20, but that surely won’t be the case again next season as a host of very talented former players make a return to Tan Parc.
The Llangefni Town trio of Dan Thomas, Matthew Jones and Callum McMinimee have signed on for 2020/21 and they will no doubt make them a very strong side whichever league they end up in.
Also returning to don the club’s famous green colours next season will be:
Gethin Davies (Gwalchmai)
Deion Evans (Gwalchmai)
Gethin Hughes (Bro Goronwy)
Kenny Hughes (Bodedern Athletic)
Hari Jones (Trearddur Bay Bulls)
Tomos Jones (Gwalchmai)
Dylan Owen (Gwalchmai)
Gavin Sharpe (Gwlachmai)
LLANFAIRFECHAN TOWN (DIVISION TBC)
Secured one of the signings of the summer when they managed to lure the prolific Sean Sheridan (above in orange) away from a Llysfaen side who were unbeaten in the 2019/20 season.
Forward Sheridan played a vital role in that campaign, scoring 31 goals in just 18 games as Llysfaen harshly missed out on the Vale of Clwyd & Conwy Division One title to NFA. The runners-up lost by a Points Per Game ratio of 0.03, having played a game less than the eventual champions – and even had a +11 better goal difference than the first-placed team. With that in mind, I’m sure Sheridan will be hungrier than ever to put things right with his new club.
Also signing on at Llanfairfechan is club legend Dave Williams who returns after a spell at higher-league club Llandudno Amateurs. He spent 25 years with Fechan and has now returned to see out his career in the club’s red and black.
LLANGEFNI TOWN (FAW CHAMPIONSHIP NORTH & MID)
Terry Jones (Llanrug United)
Kevin Lloyd (Mountain Rangers)
Alan Mark Owen (Llanrug United)
James Philips (Llanrug United)
LLANGOED (DIVISION TBC)
Iwan Hywel Jones
Arwel Williams (Gaerwen)
Carwyn Williams (Gaerwen)
LLANRWST UNITED (TIER THREE)
LLYSFAEN (DIVISION TBC)
NANTLLE VALE (TIER THREE)
Having secured the licence to carry on playing in tier three next season, Vale manager Daniel Bell and new assistant Sion Eifion Jones have been busy bringing some top players in.
Prolific forward Sion Parry (Above) previously banged in plenty of goals for Llanystumdwy and Porthmadog before arriving at Bangor 1876 last season, where he scored a further nine goals in fewer matches. He almost guarantees goals for Vale too and it will be interesting to see how he gets on at a higher level – he should definitely be one to keep an eye on.
Others joining him at the club are:
Gavin Jones (Llanrug United)
Llion Jones (Llanrug United)
Richard Jones (Penrhyndeudraeth)
Iwan Lane (Penrhyndeudraeth)
Dafydd Buckley Roberts (Pwllheli)
Huw Quaeck (Penrhyndeudraeth)
THE NEW SAINTS (TNS) (CYMRU PREMIER)
Joel Robles (Bala Town)
Leo Smith (Caernarfon Town)
Part Two of the series to follow soon once (quite a few!) more signings have been made in the coming weeks.